You know a company is all grown up and ready to take on the world when it makes its first acquisition. Well, fine, maybe raising $10.6 million last January counts too, but today leading group messaging app GroupMe announced that it had acquired small application developer Sensobi for an undisclosed amount.
The acquisition will bring Sensobi's co-founders onto the GroupMe team and likely include incorporating Sensobi's contact ranking and alert technologies into GroupMe, which hints at some interesting potential for the group messaging app.
Sensobi had offered a $9.99 BlackBerry app until now, which will soon be made free, that kept track of a user's contacts and ranked them according to how frequently they communicated with each other, whether by phone, email or text message. The app also helped users keep in touch with specific people by setting up alerts to remind you to contact them on certain intervals. Sensobi co-founder Ajay Kulkarni told The Wall Street Journal that GroupMe will integrate the Sensobi ranking and alert technology into its apps.
"Sensobi was one of the first companies to recognize that your true social network is on your mobile phone," explained GroupMe in its announcement. "When we met Sensobi co-founders Ajay Kulkarni and Andy Cheung several months ago, we realized that we all shared the same vision: to help you stay in touch with your real life social network."
Can Tech Mimic Life?
All group messaging apps - and GroupMe is no exception - have suffered from a particular problem. Social groups can morph quickly over time, but the group within the app may not keep up. If a group is formed entirely around communicating around an event, but you leave and go home early, you're still part of the group and continue receiving messages.
Could Sensobi's technology potentially keep track of who is taking place and interacting and who isn't and possibly cut off alerts, automatically, so as to make the group morph with real-life circumstances? Could GroupMe create elastic groups, similar to the elastic social graphs promised by Color, the app that creates social connections according to proximity and interpersonal interactions?
Could Sensobi help GroupMe more closely mimic group dynamics? Possibly so. It will be interesting to see where this could go.